Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Easter is only as important as you make Good Friday. I'm stunned that the world shuts down for Christmas Day but not for our remembrance of the cataclysmic action by which humankind is redeemed.

Of course, I'm guilty as anyone. Normally I'd go to the Good Friday service at my church (happening as I type), but Peter is napping. And, actually, if he'd been feeling better, we'd be visiting at a friend's farm. So far, my only observance of this holy day has been to read the crucifixion chapter to my child from his Jesus Storybook Bible. Of course, it was only as he brought me the book for our daily reading that I remembered, "Oh, yeah, it's Good Friday."

By what trick of the adversary does this day fall under most radars? I guess it's human nature that we'd rather dwell on the infant Christ-child, apple cheeks and fuzzy head, than meditate on a gruesome execution. I've seen the Passion once, and it was almost more than I could stomach. So I turn my head away, and Hallmark does too. When someone finds a way to bring glitz and glam into the crucifixion, then maybe Good Friday will take off.

I'd planned to do some serious blogging all of Holy Week, and life has interfered. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Some things you just don't want them to outgrow:

Cool Cracks = Corn Flakes

St. Peter's Truck = Transporter Truck (more evidence that I am raising an Catholic?)

Mazazeeny = Magazine

Peter Eighteen Wheeler Truck = Peter Easte---g Whee--r (learning his full name)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mom, the Unlicensed Teacher

My son speaks like a stereotypical native american in a bad 1950's western, while some other kids his age could be news anchors. But he can say his alphabet and recognize most letters. Why do I share this? To prove that toddlers of average intelligence can easily learn most tricks we put in front of them.

Kids are teachable. Ridiculously teachable. God made them that way, so mothers of average intelligence could teach them.

Part of my consternation with the Your-Child-Must-Do-Preschool mentality is that causes many mothers to doubt their ability to teach their child such basic things as colors, letters, numbers, or even theology. Just the other day, I overheard a mother explaining why they wanted to do private kindergarten: "I like that he would be learning about Moses and Noah."

What I would have said, if I didn't value social harmony, is "Your child can learn about Moses and Noah without going to private kindergarten. You have a Bible in the house, right?"

We teach our children how to build towers with their blocks, how to use utensils, eventually how to use a potty. Why do we doubt we can teach them other things as well? I mean, compared to potty training, I think numbers will be easy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"I've Heard about Her, the One Whose Child isn't in Parent's Day Out"

Ah, Mother's Day Out. The very thought sends happy tingles down my spine.

Among a particular group of my peers, I feel like a folk-legend for not having done it yet. A new group for women my age at church recently sent out an e-mail invitation for lunch which included the line, "11:30 will allow us all to eat before it's time to pick up our kids." Because if you have a toddler, they're in MDO. Of course.

After all, the child who is not exposed to regular meetings with other toddlers or preschoolers without the burdening presence of a family member will most certainly become a socially-stunted shadow of a real child, unable to communicate or effectively navigate kindergarten. Right?

On the other hand, I know that preschool is a relatively new experiment. In the 1970s, only 20% of children attended. As the number of American children attending preschool has multiplied, overall academic performance among American children has not improved. Children in certain groups (low-income, special needs) benefit from early education, but for the typical child in a middle class home-- i.e., Peter-- preschool is a luxury for mom, not a necessity for success.

I have another set of friends, one for whom nursery school is not the norm. I've yet to notice any social or academic weaknesses among their children. Quite the opposite, to be honest.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Daylight Salvation Time

Next Sunday, instead of waking up before the rooster, Peter will sleep until 6:00 a.m. He won't be ready for his nap until noon. What I have been unable to accomplish through my own means and determination will be successfully completed by Daylight Savings Time.

We will be one hour closer to a normal 2-year-old schedule.

This means that 1) I can join those 10:00 playdates. 2) I can go back to mom groups like LLL and Magic City Slingers. 3) I can contemplate Mother's Day Out.

Adults! Conversations about things besides trucks! Maybe even a little break two mornings a week?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Flying Solo

I don't believe it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it takes a family. An extended family.

In certain parts of the world, we'd share a compound with mom, dad, our siblings and their family. My sister-in-law would nurse Peter while I walk a mile to draw water. (I'm not kidding, folks.) Nana would pitch in with the kids while we worked in the fields. Older cousins would chase the little ones around while we pound grain for dinner. You get the idea.

Childcare is far from new and, I increasingly believe, a near requisite for sane motherhood. Yet, like so many in the US, I live too far from my family for regular help. My son's determination to sleep from 11-1 has temporarily ruled out any sort of Mother's Day Out.

I find myself lonely and exhausted at the end of most days. Sometimes 12 hours will pass when the only conversation I have is like the one we had in the car this afternoon:

"Cement truck."

"Yes, I see the cement truck."

"Ceee-meeeeennnntt truck!!"

"Yes, you saw a cement truck. Peter saw a cement truck."


"Here is your water. Please do not take your shoes off."

"Shoes off."

"No, Peter, keep your shoes on. Shoes on. Obey."

"Shoes on. Shoes off."

"Keep your shoes on. Thank you."

"Crane truck!"

I nod my head.

"Craaaaaaaaaaaaanne truck!!!"

"Yes, I see the crane truck."

"Craanne truck!"

"Peter, I see the crane truck. What color was the crane truck?"


"That's right."

"See Daddy."

"Daddy will be home soon."

"Daddy work."

"Yes, daddy is at work."

"Daddy home."

"I wish."

All this being said, I'm not checking into the mental ward just yet. There's a light at the end of the tunnel. More later.